Local leaders react to viral video of woman’s arrest

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX13 uncovered new information about the arrest of a woman in Cordova Sunday.

The arrest had many people talking on social media.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said officers stopped Kesha Gray to talk her after witness described a woman being beaten up so badly they thought it was a kidnapping according to an incident report.

Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer believed the arrest was unnecessary and all charges against Gray should be dropped.

“It took me back to the first time I saw Sandra Bland,” said Sawyer.

She immediately called for an investigation.

Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner promised a probe will happen.

“I think the force and languages used and the lack of care was extreme,” said Sawyer.

The incident report from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office details a witness who spotted a man putting a woman in a headlock “dragging the woman towards the vehicle, punching her and choking her.” That woman was later identified as Kesha Gray.

“It took me back to the first time I saw Sandra Bland,” said Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer.

Related: MPD releasing new way to report non-violent crimes

FOX13 dug into what happened before Gray’s arrest was captured on a cell phone video.

According to the affidavit, Gray’s fiance called deputies to report a case of domestic violence between the two of them. The affidavit never mentioned the violence a witness reported to deputies in the incident report.

A serious allegation retired county deputy and FOX13 law enforcement analyst Mike Collins insisted deputies had to investigate.

“This is one of the most serious calls a police officer can get in the line of duty,” said Collins.

Collins reviewed the video and believed deputies tried to question Gray but she refused.

“The officer did what was necessary to deescalate the situation,” Collins said.

Sawyer said other options should have been used to confront an unarmed woman who appeared distraught, especially considering concerns about exposure to COVID 19.

“How can we trust other people who are quarterback into domestic violence situations to reach out for help,” Sawyer said.

Gray was charged with several crimes such as assault, disorderly conduct, obstructing a highway and resisting, all misdemeanors. She bonded out of jail.

FOX13 tried to contract Gray but could not find a phone number for her.

When asked about the safety of deputies during this pandemic, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said:

“Deputies have been encouraged to minimized face to face interactions when possible and to issue citations when appropriate.”